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Sandy: August 2010 Archives

fcp_icon.pngThe best way to scrub through a clip in Final Cut Pro, whether it be in the Viewer, Canvas, or Timeline, is by using the J, K, & L keys.  If you're not already using these "quick" keys, start using them today!  The J, K, & L keys allow you to play a clip backward, stop, or play forward respectively.  These 3 keys are the most convenient way to screen a clip for specific actions.  By using combinations of these keys, you can play a clip slow or fast, move forward or backward, and view it frame by frame without ever touching your mouse.

jkl_keys.png  Whether you are a Final Cut Pro newbie, or a seasoned veteran, being able to move through your footage and make your edits fast and efficiently is a very important part of the editing process.  Using the JKL keys to move through your footage is a great way to view your shots.  One of the great things about JKL is that they're right below the I and O keys.  So all you have to do is press I for an In point and O for an out point.  A lot of editors use this technique for editing on a daily basis.  By using this method, you only use a small portion of the keyboard and save time over "mousing around".  This may seem simple to most editors but if you're not in the habit of using the keyboard, using the J, K, & L keys is a great place to start!

fcp_icon.pngAre you using keyboard shortcuts in the Final Cut Pro interface to move from window to window?  If not, you could be wasting valuable editing time "mousing around".  As you know, the Final Cut Pro interface is made up of 4 main windows:  the Browser, the Viewer, the Canvas, and the Timeline.  It is important to know which window is "active" at all times.  Different keyboard commands could mean different things or perform in different ways in each of the 4 windows.  Therefore, knowing which window is "active", (by seeing which one is highlighted in light gray) allows you to be able to use keyboard shortcuts effectively.

Ok, so how do I jump from window to window without touching my mouse?  CMD + 1,2,3,or 4 lets you jump from window to window in the FCP interface.  Burn this into your memory...trust me, it will save you tons of time once you have it.  CMD+1 activates the Viewer, CMD+2 activates the Canvas, CMD+3 activates the Timeline, and CMD+4 activates the Browser.

cmd1234.pngIf you're not using CMD+123 or 4, start using it right now, and once you get used to it, you will find yourself saving time and your carpals!

Why not come take one of our classes?  Learn to be a more efficient editor.  Check out our schedule, and call us today to book your next Final Cut Pro class.  

Taking a still image and giving it subtle motion is an old technique, but it became cool again when iMovie reintroduced it to a mass market as the "Ken Burns effect." Ken Burns is one of the most famous documentary film makers of all time. When he needed to document scenes without video, Ken Burns would move the camera across a still image, creating the illusion of camera motion in-scene. This works very well with inanimate objects like a landscape. When using this effect on people it becomes immediately obvious that the individuals are still. Nevertheless it is a classic and often used technique.

When producing a photo montage with Final Cut Pro, consider using the Ken Burns effect to give your production life. This can be a very simple and systematic process. By bringing in all of your photos at once, and getting them rearranged into the desired sequence, you just go thru the images from beginning to end applying the Ken Burns effect to each one.

Playing a clip in reverse in Final Cut Pro can be easily achieved.  Here is a great video tutorial that shows this motion effect.

Let's say that you've been shooting footage at the Vans Skate Park and you've captured some serious stunts on tape to use as an intense sequence for a skateboarding documentary.  Perhaps for artistic purposes you want to play the clip backwards starting at the end point of the skateboarder's flip.  Having someone appear to flip backwards or bounce back and forth is a very simple but attention grabbing effect that can be done easily in Final Cut Pro.

Getting a clip to play in reverse:
  • Right-click on the clip in the Timeline on which you want to perform the effect
  • In the speed field, you can either type a negative number (anything under or over 100% will also change the speed of the clip) or you can checkmark the box that says Reverse
change_speed_dialog.pngNow your clip will play in reverse within your project sequence.

Are you just getting started in Final Cut Pro, or want to become a more efficient editor?  We have classes for beginners and professionals alike.  Take a look at our upcoming class schedule and contact us today!

In most cases, professional editors will know most of the common aspect ratios for film and video formats, but those of you who didn't think math was going to be a part of this job, here's a handy-dandy Aspect Ratio Calculator from the folks at Digital Rebellion.

aspect_ratio_calculator.pngThe tool helps you calculate aspect ratios and pixel dimensions of video footage and will ensure that you are working with the correct resolution.  It gives you height, width, and ratio. 

fcp_icon.pngIf you're using multiple markers in a Final Cut Pro project and use them to confer with another editor or producer or your client, you can export your marker list as a text file to use in a spreadsheet application such as Numbers or Excel. 

We use markers as a visual cue to ourselves on a clip or sequence to make notes or comments or assign functions such as compression or scoring.  Use markers as you edit along using the M key.  Then you can export your marker list as text.  We do this by going to the File Menu > Export > Marker List as Text

export_markerslist.pngYou will then be prompted to Save As and choose where you want to save it to.  Your markers list text file will have a .txt extension.  You can open that txt file in Numbers or Excel, and now you can print a list of your markers that will tell you the kind of marker, color, title, timecode, notes you made, etc. 

fcp_icon.pngIf you've worked hard on a particular clip by changing the speed, basic motion, or have applied filters to it, and want to use those same attributes on another clip, you can save yourself a lot of time by copying and pasting those attributes to other clips in a sequence.

To paste attributes of a copied clip into another clip:
  • In the Timeline, select a clip whose attributes you want to paste into another clip
  • To copy the clip, you can do one of 3 things: Choose Edit > Copy; OR right-click on the clip and choose copy; OR use the keyboard shortcut, CMD+C
  • Now select a clip or clips to paste the settings into
  • Again, one of 3 things:  Choose Edit > Paste Attributes; OR right-click on the clip and choose Paste Attributes; OR use the keyboard shortcut, OPT+V
  • Now a Paste Attributes dialog box will open up where you can select which attributes you want to apply to the selected clips
  • Click OK
Continue reading for more on copying and pasting clip attributes...

macHD_icon.pngI know this may sound silly to a lot of you, but don't you just have that secure feeling every time you turn on your Mac and your HD shows up right on your desktop?  Some Mac users purposely disable that function in order to have a cleaner desktop, and if that's your preference, then all the power to you.  But for those of us who need that security blanket, only to turn on your computer one day to find that HD gone, well, it could be enough to drive you nuts!  It's so simple, but it's a preference so many users can overlook, and usually it will disappear when you have to re-format your computer, or even sometimes when performing software updates.  Simply go to the Finder Menu > Preferences, and under the General Tab make sure where it says "Show these items on the desktop", that Hard Disks is checkmarked.  It's that simple. 

finder_preferences.pngPersonally, I also prefer to have external drives, CD's, DVD's, iPods, etc show up on my desktop as well.  That way I know what all is connected and what may have to be ejected before switching to something else or shutting down for the night. 

Creating a mirror image effect in Final Cut Pro is really easy to do.

mirror_images.png Simply load the clip you want to mirror into the Viewer window (by double-clicking on it), and go to the Effects Tab in your Browser.  Click on Perspective > Mirror and drag it into the Viewer onto your clip and you will immediately see the effect applied to your clip.

perspective_mirror.pngTo manipulate the Mirror Filter, click on the Filters Tab in your Viewer window and you will be able to see the parameters you can change, such as using the Reflection Center Point control to change the center of the reflection, and the Reflection Angle control to modify the angle of the mirror effect.

mirror_parameters.pngYou can also check out this article about using the flop filter, for another alternative to mirroring an image.

get.pngHave you heard about "Get" for Final Cut Pro?  Get is a video search application for FCP users powered by Nexidia's phonetic search engine.  Get benefits the phonetic indexing and search process so that all of the video in a media library can be quickly indexed to make it searchable.  By combining spoken word search with advanced Final Cut Pro metadata filtering, Get streamlines the process of identifying and selecting relevant content.  The editor then selects the desired clips and the media is exported to projects or directly into the FCP timeline, saving hours of manual searching, tagging and logging.

This exciting new search tool is fast at locating footage based on the spoken dialogue within your content.  In addition to searching only Finder-level (file name, creation date, etc) and FCP metadata (column information within a project), Get quickly sends them to Final Cut for use in the editing process.  Get eliminates much of the time and expense of logging or transcribing every word, saving thousands of productivity dollars on every project. It will even change the way you think about organizing your content.  You can concentrate on storytelling, without the need to worry about the more tedious tasks associated with a typical editing project.

Get can be downloaded from AV3's website with the ability of a free 10 day trial version.  
Have you ever wanted to recreate the look of the opening titles used in the original Star Wars movies?  That's exactly what Star Titler does.  It's a generator that lets you import your own text, customize it's style and then let it roll.  R2D2 here we come.

star_titler.pngStar Titler also allows for depth blurring to simulate characters going out of focus as they scroll out of frame.  The animation can also be controlled manually by keyframing a few parameters.  Or, let Star Titler figure out the correct timing for your animation based on Duration of the clip, or Duration in Seconds. 

star_titler_parameters.pngYou can download the free plug-in as part of Noise Industries FxPack.  Star Titler can be used for Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Express, Motion, & After Effects.  Once installed, look for this plug-in under the Generators in your Effects Tab.

star_titler_generators.pngSo geek out this weekend, give it a try, and may the force be with you......

fcp_icon.pngToday's quick Final Cut Pro keyboard shortcut tip is for saving "favorites":  Option+F.  You can save transitions as favorites so that you can quickly use it again in the future.  This comes in handy if you've customized a transition or set a transition to a specific duration.  If you've worked hard to tweak a filter or transition and plan to use it several times in your project, why not save it? 

To save a favorite transition, open up the transition in the Viewer (by double-clicking it), make your changes, and hit Option+F.  Ta-dah, you've now saved your favorite transition in the favorites folder in the Effects Tab automatically.  Pretty easy huh?  It's amazing how many editors overlook this handy little trick.  So now you can save time and increase your efficiency!

favorites.pngYou can also save favorites to sub bins or create bins in the Favorites bin by dragging an existing bin from the Effects Tab or the current project tab.

Want to brush up on your editing skills this fall, or learn how to improve your editing workflow?  Why not sign up for one of our upcoming classes for Final Cut Pro or Avid Media Composer?  Classes fill up fast, so call or contact us today!

fcp_icon.pngRendering in Final Cut Pro is just one of those little things an editor has to take with a grain of salt on a daily basis.  It's a fact of life, however, there are a few little tricks to make your rendering easier. 

If you're new to Final Cut, rendering is the process of combining your video and audio with any applied effects such as transitions or filters, one frame at a time.  Once rendered, your sequence can be played in real time.  For more on rendering, you can check out these articles on Render Status Bars, and Rendering in Final Cut Pro.

Ok, so back to the shortcuts; Option+R, will render your entire sequence. Cmd+R will render only media you've highlighted, or media between an in and out point.  Using these shortcuts will give you more control over what areas of the timeline you want to render.  If you highlight a specific area that needs rendering and use Cmd+R, it will allow you a real time preview of specific effects and filters and increase your editing efficiency.

Continue reading for another rendering shortcut...

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This page is a archive of recent entries written by Sandy in August 2010.

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